posted March 14, 2003

Staff Member and Professor Receive Awards

Yolanda Vega of Hope College Upward Bound and John Yelding of the Hope education faculty each received Michigan Campus Compact (MCC) Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Awards on Friday, Feb. 14.

The award is the highest that MCC bestows on faculty and staff in the state of Michigan. It recognizes the influence on or engagement of students to be involved in community service or service-learning through modeling, instruction and/or special projects. The award recipients are nominated by peers at their institution.

"John Yelding and Yolanda Vega are two outstanding individuals," said Alfredo Gonzales, associate provost at Hope. "Connecting students to the larger world of citizenship, civic responsibility and service is something they do so well. In a way, both John and Yolanda model for our students what it is to live and serve in a democratic society. We are very proud of their collective contributions--and are also very pleased they are being recognized for the excellent work they do with students and for the betterment of our community."

MCC presented 19 of the awards this year as well as a lifetime achievement award. The recipients were honored formally during a luncheon awards ceremony at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant. The ceremony was held in conjunction with MCC's Seventh Annual Institute on Service-Learning, "Engaging Students in a Disengaged Society."

Vega has been assistant director of Hope College Upward Bound, a program for high school students, since 1995. She is also resident director of Scott Hall at Hope, working with the college's Phelps Scholars Program, which focuses on exploring diversity.

A 1988 Hope graduate, from June of 1988 to May of 1990 she was an English teacher at Holland West Middle School. She was also an interim multicultural counselor with the college's student development office from February to May of 1990.

Vega was on the college's admissions staff from 1990 to 1993, and was director of multicultural life from 1993 to 1995. For nine years before her 1995 appointment she had also worked with Upward Bound in a variety of ways, including as a tutor-counselor and as a facilitator of parent and student workshops.

Yelding is an associate professor of education, and has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1994. He also currently serves as president of the West Ottawa Public Schools Board of Education.

His involvement at Hope has included serving on the advisory boards of Hope College Upward Bound; the Phelps Scholars Program; and Project TEACH (Teachers Entering A Career through Hope), a scholarship and mentoring program to encourage minority students to become teachers. He is director of the college's "Encounter with Cultures" course, which reaches more than 200 students each semester.

Prior to joining the Hope faculty, Yelding was principal of South Haven High School. He had also been a junior school and middle school principal in Coloma, and held teaching positions in South Haven and Covert. His honors include being named Van Buren County Principal of the Year in 1993. He holds his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and a master's in educational leadership from Western Michigan University.

Michigan Campus Compact is a state-level non- profit organization that promotes the education and commitment of Michigan college students to be civically engaged citizens, through creating and expanding academic, co-curricular and campus-wide opportunities for community service, service-learning and civic engagement.